International Women's Day is Sunday, March 8 and their 2020 year-long campaign (#EachforEqual), is dedicated to taking individual actions, conversations, behaviors and mindsets to create an impact on our larger society. According to the website, "Equality is not a women's issue, it's a business issue." By making gender equality in the workplace a priority, businesses are able to give their attention to focusing on effective leadership skills and managing and growing successful property management companies within the vacation and short-term rental industry.
Women in the Industry
I’ve been part of the VRMA European Conference planning committee for a couple of years now. Last year, it became apparent that we got something majorly wrong. Of the seven leaders picked for the plenary sessions, only one was a woman. This was, of course, not remotely intentional. However, it got me thinking…and then it got me researching.
Why are women so often poorly represented? Not only in visible leadership roles at conferences, but also in leadership roles within organizations? I quickly realized that this lack of gender diversity in leadership is a real issue in many industries. Not just hospitality.
The World Economic Forum states that only 10% of CEOs are women, and that women make up about 15% of the senior management team within industry. My interest in this topic led me to researching and writing an article, “Women’s Leadership and Why It Matters,” for VRMA’s Arrival magazine. I found out that having more women in leadership positions is not only important morally, it also translates into better performing businesses.
I found out that having more women in leadership positions is not only important morally, it also translates into better performing businesses.
In the recent Expedia/PhocusWright report, “Gender Diversity in the Travel Industry,” a cited Castell Project surveying 22,000 businesses found that more gender-diverse leadership drives higher profits. A move from no women leaders, to a 30% representation was associated with a 15% increase in the net revenue margin.
Indeed, Goldman Sachs are implementing a policy for the U.S. and Europe. They will not take a company public unless there’s at least one diverse board candidate with a focus on women. Why? Chief Exec, David Solomon recently told the World Economic Forum in Davos, that when they reflect on Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) over the last four years, the performance of IPOs where there has been a woman on the board (in the U.S.), is significantly better than the performance of IPOs where there hasn’t been a woman on the board.
According to research led by Facebook’s VP of EMEA, Nicola Mendelsohn, lack of visible role models in senior positions is cited as one of the reasons why women feel held back. Notably, according to London-based start-up accelerator Founder Factory, only 7% of Venture Capital investment goes to female founded businesses. Mentoring, visible role models and active strategies to support women reach the top, are vital factors in supporting gender diversity in leadership roles.
Collectively, we can make the changes we want to see happen. Successful leadership is not based on gender, but based on the skills and ability to lead, understand and develop a team.
Jessica is the director of Abode PR, a boutique public relations agency and consultancy working with clients in the international hotel and short-term rental, hospitality tech and PropTech space. Jessica writes and speaks regularly on topics related to public relations, the short-term rental and the travel industry and is also the publisher of industry insight publication, PillowTalk Media. www.abode-pr.com.